Q: Does Sawbill sell fishing licenses? 
A: Yes.

Q: Does Sawbill sell live bait?
A: Yes. We sell leeches and night crawlers. Call for availability of leeches in the late summer and fall.

Q: When is Sawbill open? 
A: Sawbill is open from the time the ice goes out (May 1, on average) until the end of October. Sawbill is open 7 days/week. Summer hours (Memorial Day – Labor Day) are 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fall and Spring hours are 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Q: Does Sawbill offer guided canoe trips?
A: No.

Q: Does Sawbill have bunkhouses?
A: No. Many people stay at the Sawbill Campground located right here on Sawbill Lake. The nearest available lodging is on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Check out our list of good places to stay for more information.

Q: Does Sawbill rent rain gear?
A: No. Plan to bring your own rain gear or buy it at the Sawbill Store.

Q: When are the berries ripe?
A: Blueberries and raspberries ripen in the last half of July and usually stay around until the middle of August. It is, however, somewhat weather dependent.

Q: What are Sawbill’s GPS coordinates?
A: The Sawbill boat launch is located at 47° 51′ 48.12″ north latitude and 90° 53′ 16.09″ west longitude.

Q: Do cell phones work at Sawbill or in the BWCA Wilderness?
A: We have a cell phone and wifi hotspot on the deck at the Sawbill Store that provides service for Verizon and ATT&T. Cell phones do not work reliably in the Sawbill Lake Campground or in the BWCA Wilderness in the Sawbill area.

Q: Does Sawbill sell gasoline?
A: No. The nearest available gasoline for sale is in Tofte. We will, however, sell a few gallons of our own supply of gas if a customer does not have sufficient fuel to make it Tofte.

Q: Does Sawbill rent fishing gear?
A: No. Sawbill does, however, sell a wide variety of live and artificial bait. In addition, the Sawbill Store carries an assortment of low cost “ready-to-fish” rods and reels.

Q: Does Sawbill rent kayaks? 
A: No. Because of all the small and medium-sized lakes in this area, kayaks are not well suited here. We rent several kinds of solo canoes (and kayak paddles if you prefer). If a kayaking trip is what you truly desire, we recommend Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply in Grand Marais.

Q: Do groups picking up permits at Sawbill have to watch the permit orientation video? 
A: Yes. Sawbill Canoe Outfitters abides by all of the Forest Service’s requirements for issuing overnight BWCAW entry permits. Here are a few points that sometimes come up:

  • Every member of your party must watch the video.
  • Permits can be issued only to those party members listed as party leaders or alternate party leaders.
  • Permits may be issued one day in advance or on the entry day. Once the entry day has passed a permit cannot be issued. You can only enter the wilderness on the day stated on your permit.

For a complete list of permit related requirements, consult bwcaw.org.

Q: Is it possible to pick up a BWCA travel permit at Sawbill even if the permit was sent to another location (e.g. Tofte Ranger Station)? 
A: Yes. Just bring your permit confirmation letter or email and a photo ID—we can write out your permit in a matter of minutes!

Q: Is it possible to make reservations for Sawbill, Crescent and Temperance Campgrounds?
A: Yes. At the Sawbill Lake and Crescent Lake Campgrounds, half the sites can be reserved online at recreation.gov. The remainder of the sites are first come, first served. Temperence River Campground is entirely first come, first served.

Q: Do Sawbill, Crescent and Temperance Campgrounds ever fill up? 
A: Very rarely, maybe once or twice a year, on average. Plenty of overflow spaces are available.

Q: How does Sawbill calculate rental fees? 
A: Generally speaking, Sawbill uses a calendar day system, meaning equipment rented for any part of a day constitutes one day’s rental. Sawbill does, however, offer partial day rates on a few items, including canoes. This is intended to give our customers an economical way to experience the BWCA for just a few hours. Partial day rentals may not be “added together” to form a whole day. Sawbill does not rent equipment on a 24 hour basis.

Q: What is Sawbill’s cancellation policy? 
A: Deposits made for outfitting services will be refunded in full if you cancel more than 5 days before your scheduled arrival at Sawbill. In all other cases, deposits will be forfeited. Reservations for Sawbill Lake and Crescent Lake Campgrounds may only be cancelled through recreation.gov

Q: How long is a rod?
A: A rod is 16.5 feet. There are 320 rods to a mile.